The sense of stepping into somewhere truly remote begins even before you arrive at the Abai Jungle Lodge, with a boat ride along the Kinabatangan River being the only way to reach this road-free, unspoilt spot. As the lodge’s wooden jetty emerges around the final riverbend, suspended on stilts above the water, the awareness of being far from the daily rush couldn’t be stronger. This is the rainforest experience at its most tangible; secluded and uncrowded, with wildlife-rich rainforest literally on your doorstep.
The simple-yet-cosy accommodation provides a base to rest and recharge before heading out into the jungle. Take a moment to be still and breathe deeply, taking in the peace and natural rhythms of your surroundings. Wildlife sightings can happen at any moment, from being woken by the distinctive jungle dawn chorus, to catching sight of fur and feathers through the trees on a river safari. Wild orangutans have even been known to wander along the boardwalks close to the lodge! A stay here is the real deal - no frills, scant extra facilities, but full immersion in the vivid beauty of Borneo’s extraordinary landscape.
Built on stilts over the banks of the Kinabatangan River, and backing onto remote rainforest, this immersive lodge is about an hour from Sandakan by boat.
Nature trails & boardwalks
It was wonderful to be right on the water’s edge, and the boardwalks around the lodge are great for exploring independently when not out on the river.
Discover what to expect from staying at Abai Jungle Lodge
Seeing Borneo’s phenomenal wildlife is the top highlight of being immersed in the Kinabatangan rainforest, and this lodge makes sure that guests have every opportunity for frequent sightings. Daily riverboat safaris take you deeper into the jungle in search of elephants and primates, while the nighttime outings offer the other-worldly sight of fireflies lighting up the trees. Back at the lodge, the surrounding boardwalks bring the wildlife even closer - wild orangutans have been photographed very near to the lodge, and the wooden observation towers give you a lofty view of the canopy and the birdlife within. Keep an eye out for hornbills…
The chance to be truly cut off from modern life’s constant digital chatter is a rare thing, and a precious one, especially when in a destination as extraordinary as Borneo. Remote is often a relative term, but the Abai Jungle Lodge is remote in a more absolute sense. The lack of road access, and being reachable only by river, gives the location a special ambiance. The world is out there, but at arm’s reach, and consequently there are far fewer visitors and no chance of overcrowding. There’s no rush, the pace is set by sunrise and sunset, and every moment feels more immediate. Turn off the tech, and tune into Kinabatangan’s natural rhythms.
Wake to the distinctive sound of the rainforest chorus and enjoy breakfast surrounded by the jungle. Feel every sense become heightened as you cruise down the river in search of wildlife, or wander along the surrounding boardwalks and climb the wooden viewing towers for a different perspective. Back at the lodge, take full advantage of the rare opportunity to be still and relax, reading, resting and immersing yourself in the jungle.
Being in such a remote location, the lodge relies entirely on solar power for their electricity. They collect rainwater for use onsite, use environmentally-friendly products throughout, and donate a proportion of each guest’s fees to a fund which helps with housing and living conditions in the local community.
Explore an untamed habitat concealing endangered animals, rare birds and plants with mysterious medicinal properties; all before steeling away for a remote island retreat.